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Elizabeth Nelson is a Teacher Ambassador and a middle school Math teacher at AZVA.

October is National Dropout Prevention Month and here’s the bottom line…. Student Dropout is a problem that leads to more problems. A quick internet search will provide you with cited facts and figures about High School Dropout Rates. The facts and figures are scary.

·         High school dropouts commit about 75% of crimes

·         About 25% of high school freshmen fail to graduate from high school on time

·         A student drops out of high school about every 26 seconds

As a teacher, where can we begin to affect change? In the advice from Mary Poppins: Let’s start at the very beginning. A student does not decide overnight to drop out of school – there have been a variety of factors and time leading up to it.  I spoke with Julia Stevenson, a history teacher at Insight Academy of Arizona, and we both agreed that the most important thing we can do is to let our students know that we care about them.

Teaching in a virtual setting means we have to show our students that we care about them and that we are invested in them in different ways. We make frequent phone calls to check in with them and connect with them. We give them opportunities to chat with us after our virtual classes have ended.  We invite them to one-on-one virtual sessions to help them redo past lessons and help them catch up on their school work.  We build relationships with our students so that when they feel like giving up, they stop and think twice about disappointing their teacher.  We also work hard to ensure that our class sessions and our tones are very welcoming and warm. As teachers we can’t affect what is happening in their home life. We can affect how being successful in school feels – and that is the hook to keep our students moving forward!

Facts and figures were pulled from https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-high-school-dropout-rates with cited sources.

About The Author

Elizabeth Nelson

Elizabeth Nelson is the middle school and high school principal at Texas Online Preparatory School (TOPS). Prior to joining TOPS, Elizabeth taught 8th grade math and was a Lead Master Teacher at Arizona Virtual Academy (AZVA). Previously, Elizabeth taught math in Arizona and Indiana for 4.5 years.  She became a business owner and mother before ultimately realizing that teaching was her passion.  Elizabeth graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a minor in economics.  In 2009, she earned a second bachelor’s degree, this one in secondary math education. In 2014, she received a master of science in educational leadership from Ball State University. Elizabeth lives in Mesa, Arizona, with her husband and enjoys family time spent with their combined eight children. Elizabeth loves taking photos, math, adventures, learning, and spending time outdoors with her family.

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